In lieu of doing their jobs to protect the American public, Republican Party officials are working very intensely to misinform the public, while also blaming China for COVID-19. One of the top GOP officials today is Republican House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. You might remember his grotesque displays of fealty during the impeachment inquiry and trial of Donald Trump. If you know anything about Rep. McCarthy, you know that he will tow whatever party line Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump think up for him. And since the GOP’s brand these days is “Being racist assholes,” McCarthy decided on Monday to help out with the public health effort by tweeting out the government’s CDC.gov url along with this thinly veiled racist statement: “Everything you need to know about the Chinese coronavirus can be found on one, regularly-updated website:”
Fellow Californian and Democratic Rep. Katie Porter was justifiably pissed off at the leading GOP stooge.
Will stop spread of coronavirus: Ã¢Â�Â� washing your hands Ã¢Â�Â� staying home if youÃ¢Â�Â�re sick WonÃ¢Â�Â�t stop spread of coronavirus: Ã¢Â�Â� racism Ã¢Â�Â� xenophobia Delete this tweet, @GOPLeader. https://t.co/hd6VX3RuHo
The Trump administration and the Republican Party, having stripped down and rolled back Obama-era development of our CDC, and specifically our infectious disease research and response, is now trying to use the age-old defense that they shouldn’t be in trouble because it’s someone else who “started it.” Unfortunately, they have a racist base who will likely eat up this xenophobic handling of a public health crisis. But the Republican base is a minority in our country, and the majority of people know Rep. McCarthy is a craven prick. And the responses to his lack of leadership were fast and furious.
As one responder to McCarthy’s racism explains: this is just the same playbook we’ve seen out of these incompetent grifters for years now.
Racism is the GOP Trump card. Calling it a hoax didnÃ¢Â�Â�t work because people keep dying. Blaming it on Obama never got off the ground. WeÃ¢Â�Â�re now at stage three: xenophobia.#CPACcoronavirus
Most Americans are holding their breath while we wait for the incompetence of our current administration and their gutted health infrastructure to catch up and reveal—by way of more comprehensive testing—how much COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, has penetrated our country. Every day news cases are reported, new people are being monitored, but anyone paying attention to the news should understand that no one can fully know how many people are at risk. The anxiety has led to runs on supplies across the country, and a general unease about what we are, and are not, doing to take preventative measures. Business Insider interviewed a 36-year-old Bay Area man from Cupertino, California, who has been self-quarantined since returning from Kunming, China, on Feb. 2.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that he arrived in China on January 25, when at least 217 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were publicly known. According to the man, the differences between his experience in China and in the U.S. are alarming.
Starting with the difference at the airports, the man explains that full-body screenings with infrared thermometers were performed at the Kunming airport while most people were wearing masks.* Upon his arrival at San Francisco International Airport, he says that no one was wearing masks and no one was taking temperatures. He waited for hours in customs before his temperature was taken, and according to the man, the paperwork he was asked to fill out was handwritten and photocopied. "They literally had no idea what they were doing."
He tells Business Insider that since he and his family were not experiencing symptoms of the virus, no testing was done. Instead, he was given a “verbal recommendation” to stay home for 14 days. If he were in China he would have been given a test and quarantined pending the outcome of that test. Most importantly, he said that the CDC never contacted him to see how he and his family were doing, and that the school where his son attended would not allow him to be excused, so the boy returned a day after returning from China.
Luckily, it seems, he and his family were not carrying the virus. But the man has still considered returning to China simply because, "As someone who was in China during the initial outbreak/lockdowns and restrictions and seeing the situation develop here in the US I am 100x more concerned for my own safety during this crisis than I ever was in China."
Conservatives have held up passing much-needed funding in order to insure that pharmaceutical companies can price gouge. The president of the United States has continued to say stupid, misleading, and scientifically fictitious things in order to possibly keep the economy from going into a panic. Right-wing media has attempted to not directly communicate to their audience, instead they have pulled out their impeachment notebook to negate the problems we are facing in order to strictly attack the Chinese and Democratic leadership. Meanwhile, getting testing done, the first step toward figuring out the best way to handle containment of this problem, remains chaotic.
*While masks can help prevent the spread of the virus by individuals with the illness, it is not a prophylactic against infection.
Donald Trump’s handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, aka the coronavirus, has been terrible. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has lined up behind him to turn the whole affair into a partisan one. The Trump administration’s basic incompetence and the damage caused by GOP policies of cutting the CDC’s funding aside, the partisanship and rhetoric coming from the Republican Party have dire consequences. They include slowing down the process of getting emergency funding and dragging down the speed and efficacy of testing and diagnosing the true nature of the problem. But the biggest problem is the disinformation that results from turning medical experts’ fears into political footballs.
At a South Carolina rally last week, President Trump claimed that COVID-19 was a “hoax” being perpetrated by the Democratic Party. He analogized it with the impeachment probes and the Mueller investigations into his administration. Forget about the fact that, like COVID-19, the facts of Trump’s corruption are scientifically proven. Even if you believe Trump did nothing wrong and the Democratic Party is just trying to relitigate the 2016 election, COVID-19 is a virus that even world leaders have caught and are suffering from. But how dumb is the racist death cult following Donald Trump?
CNN did a report on Trump’s misinformation and its consequences on the MAGA elite. The report included an interview from NBC where Trump supporters, possibly tailgating at some sporting event or waiting outside of a rally, told the reporter that COVID-19 isn’t worrying them because it isn’t real.
REPORTER: You don't believe coronavirus exists?
WOMAN: I don't.
REPORTER: So the two people who have been reported to have died from it in Washington state you don't trust that that's true?
WOMAN: I don't trust anything the democrats do or say.
The Centers for Disease Control already said in no uncertain terms that the coronavirus is not just real, it is in the United States. That means that this woman not only sticks to the most right-wing media outlets, she only pays attention to her television in the moments that Trump is talking.
The clip below made me wash my hands, and I haven’t even gone anywhere today.
On Friday, the first person died in the United States from the effects of an infection by the 2019 novel coronavirus. On Saturday, another case of apparent community spread was identified, this time in Chicago, half a continent away from previous signs that the virus may be circulating in Washington, Oregon, and California. Then came another case in Rhode Island (a traveler to Italy, not community spread).
But the worst news of the day came in a phone call from the CDC on Saturday afternoon. Though it has received little attention in a usually sensationalist media that seems suddenly concerned about saying anything at all that might raise a sensation, what the CDC said during that call indicated that the official number of cases of COVID-19 is likely to double almost overnight — and it’s happening in the worst place imaginable for a disease of this type.
The subject of that CDC press call on Saturday was the Life Care Center, a long term nursing facility near Kirkland, Washington. The cases there have not yet been confirmed by testing, but there are two “presumptive positives”—which, from the call, appear to be quick tests that returned positive values, but are waiting for lab confirmation. One of these positives is a health care worker at Life Care Center. The other is one of the residents there, a woman in her 70s.
But those two aren’t alone. CDC officials and officials from Washington state indicated that another 27 out of the facility’s 108 residents are showing symptoms that may indicate COVID-19. So are 25 members of the staff.
Considering the profile of COVID-19, with deaths and severe illness heavily slanted toward patients over 60 or those with other health issues, this sort of facility would seem to be the very worst case scenario. These are the people at highest risk for a poor outcome … and yes, that’s a euphemism.
And the worst thing out of this worst thing may be that one of the Washington state officials made it clear that, had they been able to test earlier, they might have identified and isolated infections before the situation reached this point. Now there seems little to do but protect those not yet showing any symptoms, wait for test results, and hope that everyone there is just sharing a persistent cold.
So, let’s look at a number that’s actually kind of nice to see.
For the first time, the blue wedge here is actually larger than the orange—that is, the number of cases considered to be “recovered” have exceeded the number of active cases. The reason for this is also right there on the same chart. With a recovery period between 10-17 days, the “fat” part of the graph in terms of the original epicenter in China are now reaching the point where they reach an outcome. In a sense, cases before Valentines Day have now, with few exceptions, either ended in death or recovery. And as far as China goes, the number of cases logged after that date is less than what came before.
However, there’s also a bad sign on this chart. At the very top of the graph, you can see that the overall slope for total cases has stopped flattening out and started to grow more steeply. This is because China is no longer driving the outcome. South Korea alone reported more new cases on Saturday than did all of China. Iran was not far behind. Here’s another look at the top 10 locations outside of China (and cruise ships).
The growth of cases outside of China shows the appearance of those three new epicenters—South Korea, Italy, and Iran, though the order of these new sources is almost certainly not as they appear from the public information. Every indicator is that Iran is not only continuing to vastly under-report the true situation, but was harboring a significant number of infections for days or even weeks before the first case was reported. Iran has reported 54 deaths as of Satuday—more than Italy and South Korea combined.
What may be more interesting on the chart is actually those other countries up near the top: Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In each of these nations, despite proximity and frequent travel to affected regions in China that made them all early locations for cases identified outside of the original epicenter, additional cases have not undergone exponential growth. That’s true in Japan despite dozens of cases of community spread (including a scary number of cab drivers in major cities). After an initial outbreak, Singapore now shows only 32 active cases. Both of these countries show admirable management of the infection that has avoided the mistakes seen elsewhere. Worth studying.
Finally, here’s a warning of a different sort—these daily reports need to change.
The first of these articles on 2019 novel coronavirus appeared on January 23, when the number of cases in China was still in the hundreds, but 17 deaths had made it clear that what was happening near the city of Wuhan demanded attention. Chinese authorities had already instituted travel restrictions within the country, restricting travel in Hubei Province. However, there was something going on at the time—an impeachment—that definitely put the story on the back burner, and back pages, within the U.S. It wasn’t until a week later that the virus, and the disease it caused, got a regular daily post. That first one warned against the rumors and misinformation that was already spreading faster than the infection.
Even though most of those events were less than a month ago, they’re already receding into the early history of an event that is turning into something that’s exceedingly rare—a genuinely worldwide event. For the last three weeks, these articles have often been a grim exercise in watching the rising tide of numbers. That may be an interesting exercise in some ways, but hitting everyone with charts and graphs is likely of diminishing value as this becomes more about how 2019 novel coronavirus affects your town, family, and life. Look for some changes to the reporting to match that new focus.
On Friday night, Donald Trump called the coronavirus epidemic a “hoax” by Democrats who “failed” to bring him down over his collusion with Russia, or the extortion of Ukraine that led to his impeachment. After weeks of downplaying the threat, of ignoring the spread around the world, and of demonstrating that his concerns begin and end with the stock market, Trump has moved on to the next stage of how he is handling the COVID-19 issue — affixing the blame.
On a rally stage in South Carolina, Trump took his statement that he could kill Americans and get away with it out of the realm of theory and put it into practice. The people that he murdered might not be dead yet, but his words on that stage have killed them as certainly as if he lined them up on Fifth Avenue and opened fire.
Trump has criminally underplayed the importance of emergency preparations of all kinds. His gutted White House has disposed of epidemiologists and emergency response specialists from the National Security Council, CDC, and elsewhere — for reasons that don’t seem to be much more defined than Trump’s lifelong hatred of having people around who know that what is doing is foolish.
During his positively incoherent press event on Thursday, Trump already knew that there were sixty cases of coronavirus within the United States. More importantly, he knew that the CDC had just identified the first case of “community spread” in the country — a case that didn’t come in from overseas, and wasn’t obviously tied to someone who had caught it outside the country. Before his speech in South Carolina, three more cases had been identified, including another case of community spread. However, Trump insisted on telling his rally audience that there were still only “fifteen cases in this huge country.”
Trump took credit for this “pretty amazing” imaginary victory, claiming it was because he “moved early.” But it’s clear that Trump wants to declare the win … won. And everything that happens from now on can’t be blamed on him.
Trump: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that … coronavirus. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They say, ‘Oh, not good. Not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. … They tried to beat you on ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ that didn’t work out to well. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried over and over. They been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.”
The worst thing with Trump’s statement isn’t that it once again treats an infectious disease as a political talking point. It’s not that he’s failing to warn his listeners of the genuine threat they and their families will be facing. It’s not even that he’s dodging the blame for a response that has already proven inadequate.
The worst thing is that Trump never has a worst thing. There is always more ahead. Because when confronted, he won’t admit a mistake, or apologize, or even try to sidestep. He will double down.
And where he’s going can already be seen in the way that this story is being handled by right-wing media and by politicians who are racing to get ahead of the issue … the Republican way.
The Corona virus was man-made. Bill Gates is one of the financiers of the Wujan lab where it was being developed. I wouldnÃ¢Â�Â�t put it past them and by Ã¢Â�Â�themÃ¢Â�Â� I mean everyone from Adam Schiff to George Soros, Hillary Clinton and the Pope. #DeepStateCabal#KAG2020@CIAhttps://t.co/NYHkEp5UHH
Joanne Wright is an actual Republican candidate for Congress in the 34th California district currently held by Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez. Gomez won his last race with 72% of the vote … over a Green Party candidate, as Republicans didn’t even field a challenger. Wright doesn’t actually represent a threat to take away a seat in the House.
But she represents a threat all right. Her version of the coronavirus situation, with conspiracy theory ladled on top of conspiracy theory, with a heaping helping of both antisemitism and anti-Catholicism is exactly how this story is circulating in right wing channels. That may seem like the batsh#t fringe of the party. But at this point, the Trumpist party is all fringe.
Trump is already stepping onto this ground with his claim that the coronavirus is a Democratic hoax. With the stock market already in free-fall, and the disease beginning to spread across the nation in earnest, there is no place he will not go. Or at least … no place except responsible behavior and good management.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably read all the front-page headlines about a deadly outbreak that started in China and has been working it’s way into other areas of the world despite great efforts to contain it.
In fact, last Thursday the World Health Organization declared it a “global health emergency,” and at the press of a button, it seems, has started quite the world-wide panic…
But what are the facts? Should you be concerned, and just how deadly is this new virus? Well, as it turns out this new apocalyptic contagion is about as dangerous as the common flu.
Dr. Trish Perl, chief of infections diseases and geographic medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says, “So far the mortality rate for the virus is about the same as a bad year of the flu.”
So basically it’s just a different strain of the common flu?
Yeah, pretty much!
According to the CDC, the worst symptoms associated with the virus include Fever, Cough, and possible Shortness of breath. Other symptoms that could arise are runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and maybe a general feeling of being unwell.
What you won’t hear from the news, or many official health sources, is information about how long the symptoms last. I find that rather interesting because the coronavirus does not kill the vast majority of the people it infects.
Telling people that the virus is similar to the common flu and will most likely put you in bed for a week and then you’ll be fine, could calm the panic that they’ve started and that might be a little too anti-climatic for them.
If you read closely you’ll see first world countries are at little risk. World health officials have noted several times that the highest risks were for countries with less sophisticated health care systems.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization commented at a recent press conference, “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”
I don’t mean to take anyone’s health issues lightly, especially something like a virus that has taken human lives, but I also think it’s important to understand the reality of the situation. And the fact is, if you are healthy and have a normal functioning immune system there is no need for panic.
The coronavirus has claimed about 140 lives at the time of this writing. A life is a life, and I send my prayers and condolences to their loved ones.
What should you be worried about? Even though 140 lives lost is a tragedy, it’s important for us to keep a perspective and understanding of what the most dangerous health risks are and what we should be doing to avoid them. …If you live in an industrialized country like America, chronic disease is the real epidemic!
This year alone worldwide, heart disease will claim 17.9 million lives, cancer 9.6 million lives, and diabetes 2.2 million lives. Those are scary numbers!
The epidemic of chronic disease is nowhere near being contained. Currently 1.9 BILLION adults are overweight or obese. These people are at great risk for developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes if they don’t already have it.
I don’t mean to frighten you, but the most dangerous diseases are already here in this country. They are not spread by air-borne transmission, but by sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
Dr. Tabor Smith, DC is the Executive Producer of A Better Way, the Feature-length documentary film. You can learn more about this film at www.abetterwayfilm.com
This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
As the first case of person to person transmission of the coronavirus has been reported in the U.S., the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday labeled the virus a global health emergency.
WHO stated the main reason for their announcement was the spread of the disease to countries outside of China.
Russia has shut down its long border with China and international flights continue to avoid the country.
Inside China millions are quarantined and whole regions are under strict restrictions regarding public transportation and meetings.